Jags’ Etienne: ‘You’d be crazy not to want to play with Trevor Lawrence’

The Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback and running back combination in 2021 may look very familiar to Clemson Tigers fans. After the Jaguars drafted QB Trevor Lawrence with the number one overall pick on Thursday, the team followed that up by taking Clemson RB Travis Etienne with the 25th overall pick.

The two-time ACC player of the year is happy to be in Jacksonville and did not want to be separated from his college quarterback.

 “I knew Trevor was coming here,” Etienne said at his introductory press conference on Friday. “You’d be crazy not to want to play with Trevor Lawrence. I definitely wanted to be with Trevor. I feel as if, like I said earlier, it brings me that sense of normalcy being with him these past three years. I feel like I can’t wait to do great things here.”

According to Etienne, he and Lawrence, who played together for three seasons at Clemson, have developed excellent chemistry.

“We built a lot of chemistry, especially these past two years,” Etienne said. “His freshman year, I wasn’t that much of a receiving threat. His sophomore and junior years, we stayed out after practice and kept working, kept working, kept working. You just see it kind of pays off. You see it on the field now, he’s throwing me darts, things he probably would’ve thrown to me his freshman year, now he has the confidence in me and trust in me, so I’m grateful.”

In four seasons at Clemson, Etienne ran for 4952 yards and 70 rushing touchdowns, and according to Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer, Etienne has big-play potential every time he has the ball.

“I saw the violence that he plays with and the speed — speed wins,” Meyer said, “We were a team that really struggled with big-play hits last year and, especially in the NFL, but the opportunity to sustain 10-, 12-, 13-play drives, the percentages say that doesn’t happen, so we need some hits, and we didn’t have it. Travis has got that gift. He’s got that gift of if that guy touches the ball, there’s a chance it’s going, and that’s the biggest thing I looked at.”

While Jacksonville has James Robinson, who rushed for over one thousand yards last season, Etienne, on the surface, appears to be the guy for this team going forward. Robinson is not Meyer’s guy; Etienne is, so we’ll see how that situation plays out.

Report: Tebow works out with Jags as tight end

Tim Tebow might not be finished with the NFL after all. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Tebow worked out for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but not at the quarterback spot.

Tebow reportedly worked out at the tight end position. The 33-year-old Tebow requested the tryout and worked out for team’s tight ends coach, according to the report.  Tebow, who won the Heisman Trophy with current Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer at Florida, played three seasons in the NFL, including leading the Broncos to a victory in the playoffs back in 2011.

After playing for the Jets in 2012, Tebow tried to catch on with the Eagles and Patriots, but both times he was cut by both teams before the start of the season. Tebow tried his hand at baseball and spent three seasons(2016-19) in the Mets’ minor league system before retiring in 2020.

Maybe Meyer is trying to do Tebow a favor, or perhaps he believes Tebow can effectively transition to tight end. There has always been talk that Tebow could have stayed in the league if he transitioned to another position, so maybe the time is now.

We’ll see how it plays out, but it would be nice to see Tebow get another shot in the NFL.

 

Jaguars’ Chris Doyle resigns on Friday

Jacksonville Jaguars new director of sports performance Chris Doyle resigned, the team announced on Friday night. 

“Chris Doyle came to us this evening to submit his resignation, and we have accepted,” Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer and GM Trent Baalke said in a joint statement on Friday night. “Chris did not want to be a distraction to what we are building in Jacksonville. We are responsible for all aspects of our program and, in retrospect, should have given greater consideration to how his appointment may have affected all involved. We wish him the best as he moves forward in his career.”

On Thursday, the Jaguars introduced their new coaching staff, which included Doyle.

The 52-year-old Doyle served as the head strength and conditioning coach for the University of Iowa football program from 1999-2020. Doyle was placed on administrative leave by the university after being accused by a few Iowa players of making racist remarks and bullying. Doyle was eventually let go by Iowa last June and received $1.1 million from the university

“I’ve known Chris(Doyle) for close to 20 years,” Meyer said Thursday. “Our relationship goes back to when I was at Utah and he was the number one strength coach. Really, he was doing sports performance before sports performance became a high priority in college sports. I’ve known him. I’ve studied him. We’ve had a relationship. I vetted him thoroughly along with our general manager [Trent Baalke] and owner [Shad Khan]. [We] feel great about the hire, about his expertise at that position. We vetted him thoroughly.”

The hiring of Doyle was a mistake by Jacksonville, especially when you consider how many minority candidates are struggling to find opportunities around the league. Doyle would have been a distraction this season for Jacksonville, so his decision to resign was the best move for all parties involved.

Watch as Meyer explains why he hired Doyle:

Urban Meyer: ‘The Jaguars are well-positioned to become competitive’

The Jacksonville Jaguars have named Urban Meyer their next head coach, the team announced on Thursday. Meyer will replace Doug Marrone, who spent five seasons as the team’s head coach before getting fired at season’s end.

With Meyer’s hiring, Jaguars owner Shad Khan is excited about the future, and according to Khan, Meyer is the leader the team needs to win going forward. 

“This is a great day for Jacksonville and Jaguars fans everywhere,” said Khan. “Urban Meyer is who we want and need a leader, winner, and champion who demands excellence and produces results. While Urban already enjoys a legacy in the game of football that few will ever match, his passion for the opportunity in front of him here in Jacksonville is powerful and unmistakable. I am proud to name Urban Meyer the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.”

Meyer, a three-time national champion, has a great chance of success when you consider that Jacksonville has the number one overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, which probably means Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. Also, they have around 70-plus million in cap space in 2021. Meyer believes the draft assets and the commitment from ownership has put this team in an excellent position to be competitive.

“I’m ready to coach the Jacksonville Jaguars,” said Meyer. “Jacksonville has an enthusiastic fan base, and the fans deserve a winning team. With upcoming opportunities in the NFL Draft and strong support from ownership, the Jaguars are well-positioned to become competitive. I’ve analyzed this decision from every angle—the time is right in Jacksonville, and the time is right for me to return to coaching. I’m excited about the future of this organization and our long term prospect for success.”

The 56-year-old Meyer accumulated a 187-32 record and a .854 winning percentage, the third-highest in college football history, during head coaching stints at Ohio State (2012-18), Florida (2005-10), Utah (2003-04), and Bowling Green (2001-02). He is the only modern-day coach to win national championships in two different conferences (SEC in 2006 and 2008 at Florida and Big Ten in 2014 at Ohio State).

Over the years, we have seen college coaches come to the NFL and have a lot of success, like Jimmy Johnson, and we have seen successful college coaches come to the NFL and struggle, like Nick Saban, so we’ll see how Meyer adjusts to the league. However, if you have a franchise quarterback, which many believe Lawrence will be, you have a great chance to win in the NFL. 

We’ll see if Meyer can successfully transition from college to the NFL.

Jaguars’ Khan: ‘What’s evaded the history of the Jags, really, has been a franchise quarterback’

After the Jacksonville Jaguars finished the 2020 season 1-15, it was clear that the team was going to make a change at the coaching position. On Monday, the team fired head coach Doug Marrone. In five seasons, Marrone went 23-43, including one playoff appearance.

The team fired GM Dave Caldwell back in November, so now the Jaguars are in the market for a GM and head coach.

Last season, Khan decided to bring back Caldwell and Marrone. On Monday, Khan was asked if that was a mistake. According to Khan, he has no regrets.

“Not at all. No, I don’t, and I’ll tell you why,” Khan said about bringing Caldwell and Marrone back in 2020. “When I sat down with them after [former Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations] Tom [Coughlin] ‘s departure, both of them expressed a desire that they want to be able to demonstrate what they can do working together. Also, as I mentioned earlier, we had serious issues with the team, so who better to help clean it up [than] who were part of that, really creating the mess. That would include me. So it was the three of us really need to join hands.

“You want to win but you want to set the foundation, and that was how do we help the players who don’t want to be there exit, and exit with the right value for the Jaguars? Then who are the players, maybe veterans, how do we identify them who’d be better off going someplace else and it would bring salary cap and draft picks we could invest in new players. That was done earlier, or last year, this season and then some of the capital obviously we have for the future. They played a role but we’re not where we would be where we could sustain or extend them.”

Jacksonville has an appealing situation. They have cap space. According to Overthecap.com, Jacksonville has $77 million in cap space. Also, Jacksonville has the number one overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, which means they probably can get their franchise quarterback in Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence or Ohio State’s Justin Fields.

 “Well, I certainly think there’s a huge amount of interest in this, much more so than the last time around,” Khan said. “And I also look at really—we’re in a much different, and I would say a better position today than we were a year ago. A little over a year ago, as you well know—and I think you reported—we did have team disharmony, and we were—for lack of a better word—salary cap hell.

“I think today; I frankly thought that we would do better. We won six games last year [2019], but you know, certainly, we have a lot of salary cap availability along with the draft picks and obviously the number one pick. But what’s evaded the history of the Jags, really, has been a franchise quarterback. And I think what’s unique, certainly, is that we have the ability now to make a choice, and it’s going to define the franchise moving forward.”

There were reports that the Jaguars had interest in former Florida and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, Khan addressed those rumors on Monday.

“I’ve known Urban(Meyer) over the years through Big Ten and what have you,” Khan said. “But we have not spoken to anyone about this job or even, obviously, interviewed him. I mean, this is something—just made the decision this morning. So, you know there is—and I’ll leave it at that.”

Finding a franchise quarterback is never easy, and Jacksonville has not had one of those in a long time. Now, with a chance to draft Lawrence or Fields, the future could be very bright in Jacksonville. But before that, they must find a GM and coach, which will be a big decision for this team going forward.